The future of an iconic, 80-year-old armory in Delavan is in the air.
“This is never a good thing or a good day for us,” said Col. Craig Holan, of the Illinois National Guard.
“I don’t even want to think about that at this point and I’m really hopeful we could find a solution before we get to that point,” said Delavan mayor, Liz Skinner.
The Delavan armory was built in 1938, and housed the 1144th transportation battalion for years. The unit was moved out of state in January, leaving the building empty, forcing both the state and taxpayers to foot the bill.
“After 25 years, they become the property of the state, so the state has a responsibility to maintain the structure, but no mission to do so,” Col. Holan said.
Finding a private buyer, even through action, could be difficult.
“We have looked at the possibility of bringing in some businesses that would have the means to maintain that while keeping the outside integrity,” said Mayor Skinner.
Others are calling on the town to take ownership of the building in order to have more control over it. That too presents problems.
“I think it’s something we’ll definitely discuss and talk about, but I can tell you, that hasn’t gone well in other communities, much larger communities than Delavan,” Mayor Skinner said.
“Without any major repairs, it could be upwards of $35-45,000 per year,” Col. Holan said.
Action has to happen soon. The state will only pay for everyday maintenance of the building through April, since there’s no chance the National Guard will return to the armory.
“The size of the building, the size of the lot doesn’t meet any current requirements we would have,” Col. Holan said.
The National Guard will put the building up for auction for 30 days, after that a decision will be made as to the winner.
If nobody bids, and the town doesn’t want it, the National Guard will re-visit the plan. Even though demolition is a possibility, many say it’s a last resort.